Monday, January 5, 2015

The Hunger of the Wolf

Author:   Stephen Marche
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (February 3, 2015)
(Book provided via Amazon Vine program)

The editor of this book has compared the author to both Neil Gaiman and to Colson Whitehead. The Gaiman reference is not at all accurate and I fear that Gaiman fans will be left scratching their heads at the comparison. The Whitehead comparison is apt.

In The Hunger of the Wolf, Marche turns a horror sub-genre into a literary novel. How successful it is, will depend, I think, on your own literary preferences.

While the horror trope that defines the underlying 'illness' of the brothers Wylie is presented as real in the story, in truth, it's just a metaphor for the wildness within. One brother learns to wield that wildness, turning it into a blessing that results in untold wealth. Another brother can't tame it, and the beast within causes horrors.

For those of you who love a literary family saga, I think you'll really enjoy this. The writing manages to be lyrical, while still somewhat scornful of the practices of the world's richest men. And since the horror trope in question is more a metaphor, you'll find there's nothing genre - or popular fiction - about this.

For those of you who love horror lit, you'll likely find this lacking. You may find yourself bored with the intergenerational saga of riches lost and earned, and of strong men and stronger women who hold a family together through terrible things. This is definitely not horror, though there are horrible things that happen.

As for me, I can appreciate the beauty of the writing and the scope of the saga presented, however I did miss the horror. Just my preference.

This is not a quick read. It's more the meandering book that you read while sipping a cup of tea and appreciating a well turned phrase.

I just wanted a little more popcorn.

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